KAREN DEZELLE is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter that we absolutely adore! Here’s the inside scoop of Dezelle’s experience in the Los Angeles music scene and as an indie-artist who has moved from city to city. You can catch Karen Dezelle live at the Hotel Utah on Friday, August 22nd in San Francisco.
RTP: What age did you first get into music and what age are you now?
KD: I was very young when I first got into music. I was one of those toddlers who would just stop and stare at musicians. I was transfixed by it and I just knew I wanted to be a part of that magic. I have one vivid memory of playing a toy piano in our back yard when we were still in Texas and my mom picking up on the fact that I was in a different place when I was doing that and asking if I wanted to take piano lessons. That was when it all started. The singing started as soon as I was talking, and they couldn’t get me to stop. I’d get in trouble for it in school all the time. The performing started when we were in Trinidad around 13, and I think I first picked up a guitar around that time too.
RTP: What is your most favorite music venue that you have performed at and why?
KD: I love the Witzend and the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles because of the intimacy of the venues and the acoustics of the rooms. I have very happy memories at both places too. The Witzend is the first venue I played in LA and the artists I have met backstage there tend to be really wonderful- supportive and warm. I remember one singer telling me before I went on, “OK Karen remember they are on your side.” We had met like 5 minutes before but there was just an instant understanding and something about that venue and the artists that play there, I feel like everyone is family immediately. Also some of the pubs I played at in college in London – Crossroads and the Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues Bar, just because of the memories and who was there.
RTP: We notice that you have moved around quite a bit. Did your career take off when you got to Los Angeles or in a different place?
KD: A lot of the writing and composing were done before I moved here in San Francisco and London. The recording, performing, everything else involved definitely took off more in Los Angeles. I have to try to create the space here to write because this city is buzzing all the time and there’s so much going on, it’s hard to slow down. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to hide out and just write. The Songwriting School of Los Angeles has been a great place for me to do that, the teachers and students there help me catch that calm so I can return to the writing, which is the part I really love.
RTP: How would you describe the Los Angeles music scene for a singer-songwriter trying to make it in the industry?
KD: It’s actually pretty wonderful. I have been pleasantly surprised by how collaborative and supportive the other artists I have met here have been. A lot of my friends here are musicians and we are always writing together, going to each others’ shows, just having dinner parties and jamming. We keep each other grounded and inspired. Los Angeles is an interesting place, and a lot of it has to do with who you chose to work with, but one thing I love about it is that it tends to attract people with big dreams who have the courage to pursue them and I think when you are open to it, people really want to help you.
RTP: What is your biggest dream as an artist?
KD: To write the best songs I can, as much as I can, with the hope that people are moved by them and feel more connected to themselves and to each other as a result of hearing them.
RTP: What advice would you pass on to other indie artists?
KD: My advice would be to stay connected to the original reason you wanted to make music in the first place and let that be your compass to guide you through the wilderness. And stay connected to others – everyone has something to teach you and there are stories, building blocks for your art, everywhere.
Upcoming Tour Date:
August 22nd, 2014 @ The Hotel Utah in San Francisco, CA